ENGL304 - The Major Works of Shakespeare

If the course had a subtitle it would be “Shakespeare the Theater-Poet.”  Shakespeare is the only world author:  What about his work commands this position?  While his ideas, politics, and human insight are obviously central, so is his artistry, which brings the plays values alive in compelling and haunting ways.  We will give attention to both of these sides of Shakespeare, the intellectual and conceptual, on the one hand, and the dramaturgical, generic, poetic, linguistic, and formal on the other.  In fact, these two dimensions engage and interact with each other.  We will take special note of the ideas of the tragic and the comic as they organize and give meaning to experience and life.  We will also be especially interested in the plays in their theatrical and performance contexts.  Our readings will likely include King Lear, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, Part 1, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, and Macbeth.  Typical requirements might be:  Class attendance and participation; two essays; quizzes, tests, short commentaries; final exam; perhaps some prepared readings of scenes.  Students also will be required to attend and review a live performance of a Shakespearean play.  

Electronic devices (computers, iPads, iPhones, tablets, smart phones, and the like) will not be allowed in class. Students must bring play-texts to class in the form of paper copies. If you are not comfortable with a paper-only class environment, then you should not enroll in this class.


Must not have completed ENGL403 or ENGL404. Two lower-level English courses, at least one in literature; or permission of ARHU-English department.